Meet the 2021 National Translation Award in Poetry Judges!

L to R: Sinan Antoon; Layla Benitez-James; Sibelan Forrester

The National Translation Award (NTA) is awarded annually in poetry and in prose to literary translators who have made an outstanding contribution to literature in English by masterfully recreating the artistic force of a book of consummate quality. The NTA considers translations from translators of any nationality. The NTA is the only prize for a work of literary translation into English to include an evaluation of the source language text. 2021 marks the twenty-third year of the NTA and the seventh year in which the NTA is awarded separately in poetry and prose. Submissions for the National Translation Award in Poetry are being accepted until April 19, 2021.

We are honored to spotlight this year’s National Translation Award in Poetry judges, Sinan Antoon, Layla Benitez-James, and Sibelan Forrester. Learn about them below:

Sinan Antoon is a poet, novelist, scholar, and translator. He has published two collections of poetry and four novels. His works have been translated to fifteen languages. His translation of Mahmoud Darwish’s last prose book In the Presence of Absencewon the 2012 National Translation Award. His translation of his own novel, The Corpse Washer, won the 2014 Saif Ghobash Prize for Literary Translation. His other translations include The Book of Disappearance by Ibtisam Azem. His latest work is The Book of Collateral Damage (Yale University Press). He is an Associate Professor of Arabic Literature at New York University.

Layla Benitez-James is an editor and translator living in Alicante whose work has appeared in Poetry London, The London Magazine, The Acentos Review, Hinchas de Poesia, Guernica, Waxwing, EuropeNow Journal, and Revista Kokoro. She is the editor of Desperate Literature: the Unamuno Festival Anthology. Her audio essays about translation are published at Asymptote Journal Podcast. Her first chapbook, God Suspected My Heart Was a Geode but He Had to Make Sure was selected by Major Jackson for Cave Canem’s 2017 Toi Derricotte & Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize and published by Jai-Alai Books in Miami in 2018.

Sibelan Forrester has published translations of essays, fiction, poetry and scholarly prose from Croatian, Russian and Serbian. Her most recent translation is a bilingual selection (from Serbian) of poetry by Marija Knežević, Breathing Technique/Tehnika disanja (Zephyr Press, 2020). She has twice won the AWSS Prize for Best Translation in Slavic, East European and Eurasian Women’s Studies. In her day job, Forrester is Susan W. Lippincott Professor of Modern and Classical Languages and Russian.

Find out more about the National Translation Awards in Poetry and Prose, and submit titles by April 19!

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